Sunday, July 29, 2012

Early thoughts on the upcoming weekend's openers

Even before the tragedy in Aurora, I wasn't feeling bullish on the Total Recall remake. The project seems pointless and has not generated much buzz. Now the environment is more challenging. IMO, the shooting did not necessarily make people afraid of going to theaters, but rather dampened the enthusiasm of watching a movie with friends or families a great deal. Going to movies is meant to be an escape, and with such heavy event associated with the activity, it requires some time before we get back to normal, especially when there is the Olympics where people could relax and follow at home. Not surprisingly, London 2012 is setting rating records for a non-American Olympics. As for Total Recall, the number of user ratings at Flixster/Rottentomatoes currently stands at just over 28K, a decent figure, but the rate of increase this week has been slow. I'm seeing a $25m or lower opening weekend.

The first two Diary of a Wimpy Kid adaptations opened to $22.1m and $23.8m respectively, and no reason to believe the third one would deviate much from them. It currently has 8.7K user ratings at Flixster, a healthy number as family films tend to see a much lower ratio in term of ratings vs. OW (most are around 600, meaning 12K would translate to a $20m start). The family movies have also rebounded better than average this past weekend, with Braves and Ice Age both declined less than 35%. Look for a $20m+ start for Dog Days, and it is certainly possible to see it beat Total Recall next weekend.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jul 27 - 29)

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Dark Knight Rises60.0-62.7%
2. The Watch14.0$4,419 PTA
3. Ice Age: Continental Drift14.0-31.4%
4. Step Up Revolution11.0$4,285 PTA
5. The Amazing Spider-Man7.0-35.7%
6. Ted6.5-35.1%
7. Brave4.0-33.6%
8. Magic Mike2.7-37.1%
9. Savages2.0-41.2%
10. Moonrise Kingdom1.4-23.6%

1. The Dark Knight Rises' dailies so far have not been promising for even an average second weekend hold. If we apply the Wednesday-to-second-weekend multipliers for past July blockbuster releases to The Dark Knight Rises, it could be looking at following numbers for this frame (I listed the new competitions in parentheses):

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Cowboys vs. Aliens, The Smurfs, Crazy Stupid Love) - $53.2m
The Dark Knight (Step Brothers, The X-Files: I Want to Believe) - $56.3m
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Little Man, You Me and Dupree) - $60.7m
Captain America: The First Avenger (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Change-Up) - $60.7m

So a high of $60.7m and a low of $53.2m. I don't see it approaching the low end since Harry Potter was more naturally frontloaded and faced more serious competition, but beating the high end will be difficult too considering Pirates of the Caribbean had the most weekend-friendly demographics, and it only increased 50.1% on Friday. A 60%+ decline is very highly.

2. Not feeling The Watch at all. The buzz is low, the reviews are terrible, the number of Flixster/RT ratings is only at around 21K, and it has not yet entered the top 5 of Fandango's sales chart. A That's My Boy type of start would not surprise me.

3. The Step Up franchise has seen its opening weekend getting weaker with each release, and the 4th one won't be any exception. The last installment saw a 34% decline in admissions from the previous film on its opening frame, and another such decline would put this one at $10.7m.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jul 20 - 22): The Dark Knight Rises

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Dark Knight Rises204.0$46,322 PTA
2. Ice Age: Continental Drift24.0-48.5%
3. The Amazing Spider-Man15.0-56.7%
4. Ted12.0-46.5%
5. Brave6.5-41.8%
6. Magic Mike5.7-36.8%
7. Savages4.3-54.2%
8. Moonrise Kingdom2.7-27.1%
9. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection2.3-58.8%
10. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted1.7-53.7%

Final prediction breakdown for The Dark Knight Rises (upped a little from the earlier set):

Midnight - $35m
Friday w/o midnight - $60m
Friday w/ midnight - $95m
Saturday - $58m (-3.3% from Friday w/o midnight)
Sunday - $51m (-12.1%)
Opening Weekend - $204m
Domestic Total - $625m (3.06 multiplier, 3.49 if we exclude midnight from both OW and total)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Here we go: The Dark Knight Rises' Opening Weekend Predictions

There is basically one question on pretty much everyone's mind: will The Dark Knight Rises become the 5th film in the Batman franchise to set a new opening weekend record? It seemed to be a foregone conclusion until a little more than two months ago, when The Avengers made the task much tougher with its out-of-this-world $207.4m start. By comparison, The Dark Knight Rises has no 3D help, is 23 minutes longer, and will enter a frame where the holdovers will still be making $70m+ combined instead of the $51m total The Avengers faced. Some may also argue that the tragic death of Heath Ledger in early 2008 benefited The Dark Knight and helped to create a perfect marketing storm. However, there are factors favoring TDKR as well:

1. Its midnight will be significantly bigger than what The Avengers made ($18.7m). The reasons are straight-forward: we are in July, where all schools are off, and The Dark Knight itself grossed $18.5m from midnight 4 years ago, at a time when the midnight phenomenon had not really taken off yet.

2. The IMAX gross. The Dark Knight had $6.3m out of its $158.4m opening from IMAX and set a new record for the format along the way. The popularity and availability of IMAX have only grown since then. Two weeks ago, The Amazing Spider-Man saw 10.4% of its opening-week gross ($14.3m out of $137m) coming from IMAX. The Dark Knight Rises could easily match the percentage given this truly is the one movie to see in such format, with nearly half of it shot on the super high-resolution film. That means we could see a whopping $20m from IMAX alone on the opening weekend.

3. In general, the market has a bigger capacity in July than in May. When The Dark Knight opened, it broke the OW record even though there were two other new wide releases, and they and the holdovers combined for $102m. That weekend from 4 years ago was bigger than The Avengers' weekend even without adjusting to inflation. The Dark Knight's frame would adjust to $287m today, and with no other openers and the holdovers looking at no more than $80m combined, the market is plenty empty for TDKR.

So what is my exact feeling? It'll be close, but the more likely scenario is that The Dark Knight Rises will lose by a small margin for the opening while winning by a similar margin in total, as the summer weekdays should benefit it greatly.

Here is The Dark Knight's daily breakdown for its opening weekend, adjusted to inflation:

Midnight - $20.41m
Friday w/ midnight - $74.09m
Saturday - $52.56m
Sunday - $48.09m (-8.5%!)

Here is what I'm thinking would happen to The Dark Knight Rises:

Midnight - $35m
Friday w/o midnight - $59m
Friday w/ midnight - $94m
Saturday - $57m (-3.4% from Friday w/o midnight)
Sunday - $49m (-14.0%)
Opening Weekend - $200m

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekend Box Office Predictions (Jul 13 - 15): Ice Age 4

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. Ice Age: Continental Drift43.0$11,082 PTA
2. The Amazing Spider-Man32.0-48.4%
3. Ted22.0-31.7%
4. Brave11.0-43.9%
5. Magic Mike9.0-42.5%
6. Savages7.5-53.2%
7. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection5.0-50.9%
8. Katy Perry: Part of Me3.9-45.4%
9. Madagascar 33.7-50.8%
10. Moonrise Kingdom3.1-31.4%

The signs are not looking good for Ice Age 4. It did not enter Fandango's top 5 sales list until Thursday. Its number of Flixster/RottenTomatoes ratings trailed Madagascar 3 by 20% as of Thursday night (26K vs. 32K+), and unlike the latter, which saw the number surge from 14K on the previous Saturday, the pace of increase for Ice Age 4 has been much quieter this week. A sub-$50m opening appears all but certain, and I would not be surprised if the film struggles to break $40m.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

China Box Office Summary for the First Half of 2012

China's box office saw record-breaking numbers again in the first half of the year, but it was also completely dominated by Hollywood releases. Overall, 141 films were released in theaters and grossed 7.74 billion yuan in total; however, the 38 imports accounted for a whopping 65% of the gross. In fact, the top 12 Hollywood releases alone combined for 4.43 billion yuan, or 57% of the overall total. With the release of Painted Skin 2, which had grossed 527.3m yuan ($83m) in 11 days, the domestic films are looking for a big comeback in the second half, but for the first half, the stage had certainly belonged to the imports.

Top 12 Hollywood releases during the first half of 2012

1. Titanic - 975m yuan ($154.6m)
2. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 648m yuan ($102.7m)
3. The Avengers - 572m yuan ($90.5m)
4. MIB 3 - 506m yuan ($79.5m)
5. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - 364m yuan ($57.8m)
6. Battleship - 316m yuan ($50.1m)
7. John Carter - 261m yuan ($41.3m)
8. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - 184m yuan ($29.2m)
9. Wrath of the Titans - 165m yuan ($26.2m)
10. The Hunger Games - 164m yuan ($25.8m)
11. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted - 161m yuan ($25.3m)
12. War Horse - 117m yuan ($18.5m)


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Weekend Box Office Predictions

MoviePredicted Gross (m)Change
1. The Amazing Spider-Man65.0 (3-day) / 140.0 (6-day)$15,053 PTA
2. Ted31.0-43.0%
3. Brave20.0-41.3%
4. Magic Mike15.0-61.7%
5. Katy Perry: Part of Me11.0 (3-day) / 14.0 (4-day)$4,029 PTA
6. Savages10.0$3,807 PTA
7. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection10.0-60.0%
8. Madagascar 37.0-40.9%
9. Moonrise Kingdom3.5-29.0%
10. To Rome with Love2.9+318.9%

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Deducting The Amazing Spider-Man's Opening Week from its Tuesday #

Let's suppose The Amazing Spider-Man earns x amount from Tuesday, including midnight as that is the number media will report, we could use the multipliers from the first Transformers, which faced the same calendar when it opened in 2007, to deduct its possible opening week figure. Here is the calculation:

For Transformers
Tuesday-to-6-day multiplier, not including Monday night's preview: (155.405412-8.801025) / 27.851016 = 5.264

Apply to Spider-Man
Assuming Tuesday gross with midnight is x, the same multiplier would put 6 days at
    (x - 7.5) * 5.264 + 7.5 = 5.264 * x - 7.5 * 4.264 = 5.264 * x - 31.98

Apply to Various x's
x = 27, 6-day = 110.15
x = 30, 6-day = 125.94
x = 33, 6-day = 141.73
x = 37, 6-day = 162.79

Of course, Spider-Man may not follow a similar pattern at all, but this hopefully could provide a general idea on where the 6 days could land once the Tuesday number is known.

If you are playing HSX, I also have a similar calculation posted here for the opening adjust price. Basically the calculation comes out to be 9.56 * x - 64.2.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Opening Week Predictions

My final predictions for The Amazing Spider-Man's opening 6 days:

Midnight: $4m
Tuesday w/o midnight: $21m
Tuesday w/ midnight: $25m
Wednesday: $22m (-12%, +5% from Tuesday without midnight)
Thursday: $14m (-36%)
Friday: $18m (+28.6%)
Saturday: $21m (+16.7%)
Sunday: $18m (-14.3%)

Opening Weekend: $57m
Opening 6-day: $118m